Undeniable "Rules" of World War II

The following was inspired by some second and third shift musings of myself and some former coworkers. It started with the realization that no one who has ever invaded Poland has won a war. A few weeks ago I was bored and elected to write them down. Fourteen simple rules that any aspiring leader should consider. Being the end of 2018/1939, I figured it would be appropriate to share. So, as Monty Python would say…

And now for something completely different.

Undeniable Rules for World War II

Nº 1: Do not invade Poland. Do not suppress Poland. Do not occupy Poland. Do not look at Poland. Do not even breath near Poland. No one who has ever invaded Poland has won. Ever. They have beer-drinking bears in the artillery, and winged hussars who will arrive. And even if you do, somehow, invade and subjugate them, you will never defeat them. They will simply create a shadow army and call it “resistance.” Leonidas wishes his warriors were this tenacious. You’ll have an easier time with a backwater nation, like Finland.

Nº 2: Do not invade Finland. While you may win, you will forever be remembered for stupidly invading Finland. They are armed with winter, Finland, exploding trees, and sissu. And while you are foolishly trying to cope with the winter, bogs, and lack of roads, they’ll just ski up to you and pull out machine guns and turn your neat little summer uniformed troops into Swiss cheese. That is if the Sniper doesn’t get you first. Go pick on someone easier, like the USA.

Nº 3: Do not attack the United States. Seriously, that’s like attacking a rabid honey badger with jalapeno tortilla. Sure it will get a reaction, but the only person who wins is the honey badger. You may even knock them back for a few weeks. But what America lacks for in elegance they make up for in having the biggest pile-driver this side of a lunar collision. They will bury you under inconceivable amounts of tanks, ships, aircraft, bombs, jeeps, rifles, and C-rations. Better to stay at home, or attack an easier target, like Australia.

Nº 4: Do not invade Australia. Seriously, those guys are not to be trifled with. Sure they seem polite, calling everyone “mate” and wishing you a good day, but if you tick them off there’s only one word you need to know: Gallipoli. Nothing short of people born in a former prison colony populated by all the deadly snakes, kickboxing giant rats, sea monsters, exploding trees, and ludicrous tricks of Mother Earth could survive that fresh hell except ANZAC. And don’t think their neighbors, New Zealand, will be any easier. They are the “NZ” in ANZAC after all. And to add insult to injury, the islands are home to Mordor.

Nº 5: If, for some deranged reason, you still want to invade Australia, do not go through New Guinea. Cannibals, impossible mountains, jungles, diseases, crocodiles, and cannibals. Don’t. Just, don’t. Try somewhere with more open terrain, like the Soviet Union.

Nº 6: Do not invade Russia. Especially if it is almost winter. It is always almost winter. And not just a little winter, but a few thousand square miles of “even the north pole is moving south it’s so cold” winter. And if by some cruel trick of fate you do what Napoleon could not, after Russia’s “General Winter” comes it’s meaner, longer big brother: Siberia. And nobody wants to be zerg rushed by all the comrades in the world while dealing with frostbit everything. Try somewhere with a more mild climate, like England.

Nº 7: Do not invade Great Britiain. No matter how awesome your military may be, it is physically impossible to invade Great Britain unless your name is William and you are a Viking from France. Seriously, these muppets say “keep calm and carry on” as if daily bombings of their city are nothing out of the ordinary. There’s a reason why they took over the whole world with just a navy: that navy is THE navy. They invented the battleship, the battlecruiser, the aircraft carrier, and the destroyer. So you will not get there by sea. But you won’t get there by air, either. The Royal Air Force doesn’t need any explanation as to “whose” air force. They are the first. Besides, any hope of invasion is out if that bulldog Winston is at the helm. Maybe you should try someone who won’t fight back, like France.

Nº 8: Do not invade France. Contrary to popular belief, the French are not cheese eating surrender monkey pushovers. These are the guys who have perpetually fought the British to a stalemate. And under good leadership, like Charlemagne or Napoleon, they were able to take over Europe. Even when having their own self-destructive revolution they were able to reach levels no one ever expected. They scientifically improved on executions, for bagget’s sake, all but weaponizing it. And don’t even bother with the French Foreign Legion. If half the stories about them are true, they are the unholy spawn of Hercules and Attila the Hun. Just don’t bother. Maybe try an easier target, like Canada.

Nº 9: Do not invade Canada. In fact, do not upset the Canadians. Last time that happened, a single soldier curb-stomped a garrison holding a small Dutch town. The top four aces of the British from World War 1 were Canadian. It’s like every one of them is Davy Crockett with a compulsion to say “eh” constantly. Ever wonder why they don’t have a big military? Because the American’s are just south, acting like the Canadian’s excitable and loyal attack dog. Ever notice how when the canucks goes to war, the Yanks follow? It probably isn’t a coincidence. And like Rodina, The Great White North is known for winter, which has two varieties: “cold” and “hell froze over.” Which lead them to invent golf on ice, better known as hockey, which is really just a secret program to teach all Canadians a hybrid of Judo and Krav Maga. Maybe you need to try something closer to home, like Denmark.

Nº 10: Do not invade Denmark. These guys are the descendants of Vikings, and it shows. Sure, they don’t have quite the bite now, and are more famous for stories about a mermaid that happens to be little, but they find frustrating and passive-aggressive ways to make you wish you’d left them alone. Like sinking their OWN ships so that you can’t have them. Or finding ways to color everything the colors of their flag, because you’ll tell them they can’t have it. They’ll find loopholes to your rules, and even their monarch won’t play by the rules. Unlike other countries governments, that at least have the respect to run away when invaded, the king will stay behind just to spite you. And he’ll refuse any “protection” because he knows that if you even so much as give him a paper cut, all the Danes will go berserk on you. You’ll have better luck with a backwards nation, like Greece.

Nº 11: Do not invade Greece. Persia tried, once. There’s good reason why military life is described as “spartan.” And once Alexander got ahold of the show, he took it on the road and did all the difficult work for Rome later. Even when Rome invaded, it was the Greeks who won. Besides, nobody wants that rocky collection of nostalgia-ridden towns and islands and goats anyway. You’ll just find yourself dragged into bailing out a half-wit ally who is pinning for something long dead. This is Greece. They invented math, astronomy, government, military, storytelling, sports, and cross-dressing. Pick somewhere with less of a stubborn streak, like China.

Nº 12: Do not invade China. These guys fought off the Huns. They didn’t always win, but they had a better record at it than everybody else. While Greece was still dreaming up new bedtime partners for Zeus, China was inventing paper, poetry, calligraphy, silk, Japan, and gunpowder. These guys were using rockets in war before Europe invented the trebuchet. And they don’t want to fight you. They’d rather fight against each other. So if you do invade, you’ll end up uniting to groups that hate each other, but will gladly put aside their differences to kick you out so they can get back to something meaningful. Maybe somewhere further south would be better, like Indochina.

Nº 13: Do not invade Indochina. Sure, with France occupied in Europe it should be easy pickings, right. Except for all the jungle, and swamps, and crocodiles. And the malaria. Oh, and don’t forget the guys who were fighting the French in hopes of independence. They may see your invasion as a great opportunity to assert control. Or at least look like loyal fighters and thereby earn brownie points for when France does come back. Seriously, if American can’t win a war here, you’ve got no hope. Just save your money and stick with a neutral country, like Switzerland.

Nº 14: Do not try to, plan to, infer you will, set up troops in preparation to, invade Switzerland. In fact, just leave Switzerland alone. They are neutral for a reason: nobody wants them to fight. Likely as not if they did fight they’d take over the world in less than three months. These guys are precise, and overly prepared. All those mountains? They built them to keep you out. So stay out. And every single Swiss male is in the army, and is a crack shot at double the range of your best gun. While blindfolded. And numbers do not matter to the Swiss because they invented numbers to justify pocket watches. They’ll use avalanches to bury roads, and whichever tank battalion is on it. Their air force will take lackluster French aircraft and beat you with them, then take yours and beat you with those. And they have some sort of scientific device in the mountains that can create black holes. These guys invented the knife, the clock, chocolate, and sniping. If you want you can store all your ill-gotten booty in their banks, but you’ll never see it again. Because nothing is more secure than a Swiss bank.


The Soviets invaded Poland in 1939 and won.


Well, the rules are more of “guidelines” and geared mostly toward the Axis powers. Then again, the Soviet Union was bested in the 1920s by Poland, and would later go on to collapse whilst Poland is still around.


As much as I enjoy your list and despite I know it’s a bit satirical I have to comment on this “Russian winter” myth. Winter next to Summer is the best season to wage war in Central-Eastern Europe. As long as you have proper winter equipment it’s fine. During Spring and Autumn whole Central-Eastern Europe turns into one big swamp full of mud created by melting snow or/and constant rains. When Napoleon was traveling through Poland during this time of year he said: “In Poland, I learned about fifth element: mud.”

Mongols and later Tatars were only going on raids during winter, Poland and Russia were quite often fighting each other during winter. So I guess the rule should be “If you’re a westerner don’t attack Russia during winter, otherwise you’re fine”.


Agreed, but having the rule stipulated as “Do not invade Russia. Especially if it is almost winter, unless you have proper winterized gear.” just doesn’t have the same snarky ring to it.

Maybe Indy and Sparty will discuss the greater dynamics of winter preparedness on battle plans and campaigns as we get closer to Barbarossa.


Indeed, everyone is talking frostbite, then comes “spring” , rasputitsa, and ground starts swallowing tanks … guess it’s to abstract for someone not seeing that


So let me summarise your list in three words:
“Don’t start WW2”
Right? :wink:



Just like how the moral of World War 1 is “Do not assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand.”


“Don’t appoint out-of-touch generals”.


Technically the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was another successful invasion of Great Britain.


Well, yeah, but it’s funnier for the joke if we only ever mention that one time William decided Harold deserved getting poked in the eye. With an arrow.


How about “sea power is a bitch”?


The Pacific Theater?


I studied at Texas A&M and a great part of learning about WWII history there is that the majority of POW camps were located in the farmlands of Texas. Many of the German soldiers knew the war was lost when they took trains to get to Texas because they saw industrialized town after town. From what I heard from my professor who had interviewed many of them (and wrote a good book called Hitler’s Last Soldier in America; good read if you want to check it out), is that they had a view of America from Western books and movies and thought most of America was sparsely populated, western like prairie. This doesn’t completely explain why Germany was so casual about declaring war against the US after Pearl Harbor (yes, Hitler had a pact with Japan, but in defense and not offense, and also Hitler wasn’t one to obey agreements if he didn’t feel like it) but it does help show some of the logic of underestimating the role the US would play in the war.


Pretty sure that was Horatio Nelson’s catch phrase.

Yeah, I’m disappointed as well that I didn’t include more Pacific Theater “rules.”


Not just that. Access to the world’s oceans also gave the British access to the world’s resources and manufacturing output. Germany (and Japan for that matter) were denied that.

It was the same problem Napoleon had. You can conquer the whole of Europe but you’re still faced with two intractable enemies. One who has an annoying strip of water and a gigantic navy in the way and another whose country is massive and extremely cold.

I’m currently reading about the North African campaign. There is a great example of sea power making a decisive contribution to a land campaign.


My mind immediately thought of the Pacific Theater at your statement because that was one of the craziest parts of World War II, at least in its viciousness.


It was, and seeing it presented week-by-week will be interesting to say the least. There were also some very interesting and unconventional solutions to tactical and strategic challenges from both sides.


Allied control of the Mediterranean basically decided the African campaign before it really started. The Germans had supply problems on all fronts, but even more so there because getting it there by sea was difficult. In that aspect the invasion of Crete was a feat of power, being conducted wholly by air. Of course it also incurred such losses that Hitler forbade airborne invasions after it.


I almost feel like it would be worth splitting the series into two separate episodes at the point of Pearl Harbor, one European theater, one Pacific theater.